Do you have writer’s block?
For months now I have been struggling to get into a daily writing practice. I have loads of ideas for fabulous, compelling articles, but I never seem to make the time to write. And I have the time, so what’s the problem? You could call it writer’s block, but writer’s block translates into distractions or roadblocks to something. So, what are my distractions and from what are they distracting me?
To work through this, I called upon the assistance of a fellow writer, Michael Cupo, who has a great writing discipline and the experience of presence on a regular basis. What is presence? It’s difficult to describe. However, we could say presence is just being, not doing. The only motivation for being, if you can express it in such terms, is pure love. There is no past or future in being, no grasping and clinging and no pushing or pulling. In this state of being, there is no one who has writer’s block. Being means we are here, now, and at peace.
I asked Michael to explain his writing discipline to me so I could fashion my own practice after his as he is clearly successful at writing and posting pure truth on a daily basis. But Michael didn’t focus on what he does. Instead, he asked me to look inward to find what distractions or roadblocks I was experiencing that keep me from the freedom of writing, and ultimately, inner peace. I couldn’t think of anything right away, so I stopped trying to figure it out and just listened to Michael talk for a bit. As it has often been so brilliantly said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same energy that created it”.
All of a sudden, a deep voice within me said, “Being still through writing allows the pure peace within to be expressed and experienced.” There it was—the inner voice of pure knowing coming through me, clearly and simply. I’m afraid of being the pure peace within me because the moment I do, the “I” disappears. Who is this “I” who is afraid of peace?
Creation and Support of an “I”
We are born as a whole being, but are quickly conditioned, or taught, to believe in something other than wholeness. We are taught to believe in separate and individual. I don’t mean just separate and individual from others, I mean separate and individual from our true selves—separate from our very being.
This separate person is called “I” and is the one most of us refer to when talking about ourselves. The “I” is the one who continually thinks, is given a life through attachments to the imaginary past or future, is made concrete through descriptive adjectives and is in a state of constant doing or busyness. It is the source of our stress, preventable illnesses and unhappiness because it is everything we aren’t. All of this doing is nothing more than a continual distraction to our true nature—pure being. Talking with Michael this morning brought me back to this pure truth—stillness is peace.
An advaita sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj, said, “When you go beyond awareness, there is a state of non-duality, in which there is no cognition, only pure being. In the state of non-duality, all separation ceases.” In advaita, or non-duality, there is only one or oneness. How does this apply to us? It means that in the moment of oneness, the belief in the manufactured “I” ceases to exist, as does any concept of separate.
Now I know why I don’t make the time to sit still and write. “I” am afraid of my own inner peace because it means the end of my manufactured self—the one who is not peaceful—the one who is afraid. This is the one I have known myself as for all of my memorable life. It seems obvious that this “I” isn’t interested in disappearing and will find anything to do to keep stillness from happening. Cleaning the oven with a toothbrush is par for the course where the “I” is concerned—anything but stillness.
There is something deep within all of us who knows it is time to “be”, instead of “do”. Many of us are being moved from within to return to a state of non-duality, or pure wholeness—a state of inner peace. And it’s happening no matter what.
The “I” Can’t Stop It
We don’t have the control we have been taught to believe we have. If we did, we would never have created the separate self. Not having control over the creation of our “I” means we also don’t have control over the process that brings us back into alignment with our true nature—pure being. The “I” can do anything it wants to do. It can tell stories of inadequacy, it can collect people and stuff and it can do and do and do. Eventually the stories, the problems with their so-called solutions and all of the doing dry up. Something within us knows this is no longer a viable way to live. The “I” can’t stop this return to wholeness. It’s going to happen no matter what.
One way we return to wholeness is by uncovering our distractions. There is no doing here. It is just something to notice when we notice. This noticing shines the light on any distractions which then creates a space from the distracted “I”. When this space opens, we may simply feel drawn to move in a different direction. This movement, or shift, is a call from our pure state of being to return to inner peace.
For me, that might look like sitting in stillness before I write, something I don’t do now. It’s different, but it’s not really doing, it’s being. It’s an energetic shift of realignment back to the one I have always been. This is where happiness and freedom live for all of us.
People often ask me how they can find inner peace and presence while holding down a job and/or raising kids. “Do we have to quit our jobs or ignore the kids?” No. But when peace arises, things change. Less doing is definitely part of the experience. Many of us are afraid of change, even though we are unhappy where we are. However, it is in these changes that balance and happiness return. Stillness and inner peace become the norm.
What does that look like? I don’t know what it looks like for you, but you will know it when it happens. One thing is certain, there will be a definite shift from what you have always done. There has to be. You are returning to wholeness. A life of separation does exist here.
The place of inner peace, where the “I” drops, is not a loss, but a total gain of clarity, understanding, connection, love and wholeness. Are you afraid of your inner peace? Don’t be. It is your natural state of being. You deserve to return to it.
The Presence Challenge: Michael explained to me that he often takes a few moments throughout the day to experience being. To help others with this, he suggests that they hold their hands about one inch apart, palms to palms, and then touch fingers to fingers. We can all experience this now. Focus on how it feels energetically when your fingers are touching. Be here in this moment. This moment is where pure presence is. This is the here and now, not some past thought or future worry. Presence is simple for us because it’s who we are.
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